Kaniyang Yued Noongar woman Dorinda Cox has been announced as Lead Candidate for the Federal Senate for the Greens in Western Australia.

This follows the news of former Greens First Nations Peoples’ Issues spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert’s retirement.

After a three-week pre-selection contest to determine the next spokesperson, Cox earned the place over ex-state MLC Lynn MacLaren and WA Greens state director, Sophie Greer.

With the next federal election scheduled for next year, Cox will hold the lead spot representing the Greens ticket.

Cox has vast political experience at both global and community levels. Her strong sense of self-agency was key to her appointment.

“I’ve had to learn how to be political from a very early age in order to navigate systems, to have an understanding [of how] to work inside government, and to navigate community,” said Cox.

Working alongside and with community is at the heart of Cox’s work.

“Those opportunities to talk to our people and our communities – [asking] what are the issues that matter to you? That’s what drew me … I’m able to elevate those voices and those issues alongside community,” she said.

With a community-centred, grassroots approach, Cox also spoke of her personal connection to Country.

“I can’t separate environmental, cultural, climate, economic [issues],” she said.

Cox said the fragmentation across First Nations policy needs long-term solutions. She said establishing an Anti-Poverty Act will be one step towards those solutions.

“If we’re looking from a primary preventative space … having an Anti-Poverty Act means we know what those key drivers [of poverty] are,” she said.

“Whether it’s housing, drug and alcohol addiction – we make that investment.

“Then it’s not fragmented because we look at what those key drivers are; that continue to drive that wedge between the haves and the have nots.”

Cox highlighted this is a conversation that needs to be had.

“We, as First Nations people, are continually put in a deficit model, but we have so much strength in our communities,” she said.

“Why are we not having a conversation about how we eradicate poverty in our communities?”

 

By Rachel Stringfellow